The Mets may decide to extend Jeff McNeil’s contract. An industry source confirmed that the All-Star second baseman agreed to a $50 million contract extension for four years, forgoing at least his first two years of free agency. A fifth-year option that could bring the total value of the contract to $63.75 million is included in the agreement, which will become binding once McNeil passes a physical.
Last year, McNeil, 30, won the batting title with a.326 average and an.836 OPS. McNeil, who was eligible for arbitration, failed to reach an agreement with the Mets this month on a contract for the upcoming season. As a result, the agreement was reached. After the 2024 season, McNeil might have been free to sign elsewhere.
McNeil made $3 million his first year of arbitration eligibility last year. For his season, he was expected to make $6.2 million.
McNeil’s versatility and bat are valued by the Mets. He has also played third base and corner outfield, in addition to second base. This season, he is expected to play most of the time at second base, but he may also play left field and right field on occasion.
McNeil was a possible trade candidate last winter after a disappointing 2021 campaign in which he spent a significant amount of time on the injured list. During the 2021 season, he also got into a fight with Francisco Lindor, who grabbed him by the throat and pinned him to the wall in the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse after the two of them got into a fight on the field because of a defensive miscommunication.
However, McNeil became only the second player in Mets history to win a batting title, following Jose Reyes in 2011. The Mets were rewarded for sticking with McNeil. Earlier in the 2022 season, Lindor told McNeil that if he won the batting title, he would buy him a car. That debt hadn’t been paid off as of last week, but a source said it might be settled during spring training.
The Mets may focus on Pete Alonso, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 season, now that McNeil’s contract is in place. After hitting 40 home runs last season, Alonso recently agreed to a deal that will pay him $14.5 million this year, avoiding arbitration with the club.
However, it’s also possible that Alonso will try out free agency and put his money where his mouth is by betting on a deal. In that regard, Brandon Nimmo was a success story. He signed a $162 million, eight-year deal with the Mets at the beginning of December, after talks about getting an extension last offseason didn’t really happen.
According to luxury tax calculations, the Mets had already committed $367 million to payroll for the upcoming season prior to McNeil’s extension. For exceeding the third tier of the luxury tax threshold, team owner Steve Cohen will pay an additional $100 million in penalties. In addition to signing Jusin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, and David Robertson, Edwin Diaz (five years, $102 million) received a new contract from the Mets.